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(en) France, Manifesto for a anarco-communist alternative - by Laurent Scapin - Alternative libertaire - II. (2/3)

Date Mon, 31 Oct 2005 19:26:38 +0200

The claiming fight goes most of the time in firms through union
actions. We preconize active participation to unionism, firstly
understood as a certain mass and working class practice, but without
anticipating on the organization forms that workers could give
themselves into the frame of an alternative process. The union
organization is or should be a tool for this "in-the-field" practice.
We are conscious that the union movement is by nature -just as any
fight led against capitalism in a non-revolutionary period- passed by
a contradiction between integration and rupture. We are also
conscious that integration generates a heavy tendency to social
compromises and to bureaucracy.

We defend a revolutionary unionism opposed to dominant practices,
orientations and structures into union organizations. We preconize
union independence, intern democracy and federalism, backing of
fights auto-organization and the respect of labour unity, an
inter-professional an international solidarity practice, and an
autogestionary social change aim.

The choice to join such-and-such union freely belongs to anyone of
us. We can be led to inscribe our revolutionary unionism into very
different frames: big confederations of reformist orientation, smaller
union structures or more sectorial on a class-struggle axis ones. For
us, the essential is in the real possibility, given by such-and-such
structure, to lead a mass unionism into firms, and the militant
collective existence.

Our unionism is essentially thought in terms of "in-the-field"
practice, and is firstly inscribed into basis structures. It is in the
choice of these basis collectives that comrades can be mandated at
any position and at any level by adherents and militants.

As revolutionary unionists, we refuse the social-democrat division of
work between a party which deals with politics, that is to say with all
the questions of society as well, and a union confined to immediate
claims into the firm. For us, the union organization has to bear its
own political strategy for social change, elaborated totally

Finally we refuse the "driving belt" part that Leninism wants to
impose on the union organization. It is natural that the union fact
should be, as any important fact of society, discussed everywhere
and in political trends. But we refuse the "partition" practice which
leads its members, whatever is their opinions, to follow the
majoritary positions or their party directive into the union.


Capitalism built itself on a world-wide scale. A class-struggle
strategy would be unthinkable if it was limited to one country only. It
is a question of international stakes, and social movements have to
make up an important lost time. A fight for an internationalist
orientation is necessary; it will have to make its way against localist
and nationalist resistences.

We are resolutely for the organization of international coordinations
in every activity branch and on every front.

An internationalist fight passes in the same time by international
solidarity, with fihgts in the world, with militants, between peoples;
concrete coordinated actions, international unity are to be built for a
confrontation with powers that have been international for long.

An internationalist fight therefore aims at the multiplication of links
and struggles for the project of a large solidarity of labour and
popular counter-powers against ruling classes to emerge, from the
East to the West, from the North to the South emerges.

Thus, the prospect is the remelting of a new international
movement, an anti-capitalist and anti-authoritarian one, imposing a
fair peace and the project of an actively demilitarized planet where
fronteers between human being would have been overthrown.

This goal is even more essential in front of the new world order
instauration, dominated by the United-States, and into which each
people possibilities are more and more limited.


We are revolutionary, that is to say partisans of a radical social
transformation. Class-struggle can lead to a reversal of criterions and
prioritites into society. It can substitute autogestionary productions
intercourses to the capitalst ones, an auto-governed and federalist
democracy to State, a new equalitarian wolrd intercouse to the
imperialist order.

Being revolutionary does not mean passively wait for an inescapable
rupture: future is written nowhere. It will be what humans will do of
it, and in each historical situation the field of what is possible is
open. There is no reason why history should have reached its
ultimate stage: capitalism shall not be the human society last form.
But an autogestionary socialism will not succeed it mechanically, at
the end of a final "crisis" which should have only one possible exit.

Being revolutionary does not mean cut from life and fight conditions,
necessarily limited and imposed by the capitalist frame, until it has
not been overthrown. We refuse a choice between "everything or
nothing", and we assert on the contrary that the way which can
prepare a futute revolution will be found through the real society
contradictions, and through every partial fight that have to be lead
into it.

The revolutionary rupture, the global passage from a capitalist
society to a society led by autogestion, seems to us the outcome of a
long historical process of class-struggle and of consciences
maturations, where workers and the population will progressively
impose their counter-powers.

As revolutionaries, we are not "a priori" partisans of a violent
solution. What is essential in a changing process is into a
constructive work, which needs a population self-defence to preserve
the social acquisitions. But the degree of violence in a revolution is
first chosen and imposed by the overthrown ruling-classes. It can
therefore be necessary. Then we have to be vigilant, to keep from the
militarization danger and excesses.

Except from dictatorial situations, military or colonial occupation,
we oppose violent minority actions led by armed groups cut from the
population and workers, and we oppose in particular attacks
jeopardizing people's life. The military armed action, led in these
conditons, lead to face up State; it legitimates its reinforcing and lead
to a paranoiac isolation.

Furthermore, in a context of fights decline, the police and judiciary
systems tend to criminalize numerous mass fights. Thus we
establish a clear partition between isolated minority armed actions
and tough forms taken by workers and population fights for the
defence of their acquisitions and their struggles.

At the same level, we do not make a confusion between minoritary
armed actions and illegalism imposed on revolutionary organizations
and on the working-class by a strong State negating strike or
demontration rights. Neither do we reduce minorities symbolic
actions against the power and exploitations images to blind

Finally, we have to mention that what is engendering minoritary
armed action is often State terrorism, in particular in colonized
countries or those of the Third World.

As a conclusion, we say that the revolutionaries' actions limit is not
established in terms of respecting the legality imposed by State; but
this limit evolves according to the mass conscience upon the
legitimity of the action.


Our conception of socialism is not the result of an extern elaboration
from the proletariat's fights. On the contrary, we assert that workers
themselves found and found again spontaneously the bases of a
society alternative to capitalism, through their fights and in particular
in revolutionary periods.

From the French revolution onwards, we can detect first signs of it.
During the Commune of Paris in 1871, in Russia and Ukraine from
1917 to 1921, in Spain from 1936 to 1937, bases of a possible other
socialism developped, but crushed in the end by a new bureaucracy
or by the "bourgeoisie". Each revolutionary experience, each
class-struggle strong moment came to confirm this aspiration for a
society and a production reappropriated by the basis, from firms
collectivized in autogestion and free districts, with a federation
organizing the new society.

A whole anti-authoritarian trend of the labour movement inspired
from this workers' spontaneous socialism and we claim to have our
roots in it. We have no choice but to state that other trends imposed
during decades: State socialism -social-democacy, Leninism,
Stalinism-, which opposed spontaneous socialism aspirations, and
which led the labour movement into a dead-end.

The workers' spontaneous socialism opened an extraordinary
prospect for humanity, sketching through concrete realizations a
superior form of democracy.

But historical experiences also revealed some limits and weaknesses
we have to take into account. It is for this reason that a consistent
project, borne by an organization of militants, is necessary today to
face the problems that the workers' spontaneous socialism has and
will have to do with. The existence of such a project is not an
infallible garantee: it can nonetheless help the masses movements in
autogestion to overcome its inevitable weaknesses and limits.


We assert that we have to break off State socialisms, to come back to
the roots of workers' spontaneous socialism, to look there for the
terms of a new, anti-authoritarian socialism without which there will
not be any rebirth for the revolutionary fight.


Social-democracy lies upon the illusion of the formal democracy in
the republican form, of the belief in a "neutral" State, above classes,
and therefore reversible in the favour of the exploited's interests.

There is a double trap: the promise to rule the capitalist State against
capitalist interests; and the prospect of a progressive social change,
pacific and legal, reformist, through decrees and laws, from
capitalism to socialism.

From this comes a political strategy inscribed into the capitalist
institutions that is respectful of these. Social-democracy is first of all
a State-control socialism, lying upon delegation of powers,
benefiting to politicians, to bureaucratic and technocratic ruling

Social-democracy result is desastrous for the proletariat: instauration
of "social peaces", where workers lose their resistance capacity,
union organizations' submission to the electioneering demands and
to those of governmental politics when the left is in power.

Social-democracy revealed bit by bit: an administration form of
capitalism more and more integrating the liberal credo.

Leninism and Stalinism.

As a project of a revolutionary social change under the direction of a
ruling party and through the whole economy concentration into the
State hands, Leninism also failed in despising and fighting against
what is spontaneous in the workers' socialism, autogestionary and
federalist. It is a dreadful result. Bloody dictatorships soiled the very
word "communism", whose real sense is yet radically opposed to it.

History now showed it: State-control upon the means of production
does not imply a rupture from the capitalist intercouse between
rulers and ruled people, but the passage from a split, a competing
capitalism to a State capitalism, putting at its head the constitution of
a new ruling and exploiting class. State-control cannot be presented
as a transition form between capitalism to socialism, but as a new
form of oppression of workers.

No party can proclaim itself "proletariat's avant-garde", can pretend
to represent a whole class conscience, to substitute to it in the
revolutionary process direction and in the society one, none can
impose its dictatorship on workers in the name of their

The centralist form, highly hierarchized, of the Leninist party, a form
that is logic considering its taking-power fonction and the one of the
direction of a State controling all the social activities, leads to tyranny
into the organization, to the crushing of all the formations extern to
it, to the break between rulers and ruled people, between the party
and the workers, between the party and society.

The strategy of the party taking power also leads to dreadful
practices into dayly fights: the driving-belt sketch submitting mass
organizations and unions to the party directives, the centralism and
the imposed direction practice in the fights leading, the submission
of militants' mass interventions to the superior imperative of the
party interest.

We do not draw a line between Stalinism and Leninism. The latter is
a revolutionary trend, whereas Stalinism is first of all a defensive
system of an established bureaucracy. But we have to take into
account that Leninism allowed this bureaucracy instauration, and
that it opened up the way to crimes against democracy and against

Leninist and social-democratic trends are a trap, considering the fact
that they promised, each in its own way, to rule State against the
capitalist interests and in favor of workers (a reform of State or the
building of a workers' State). Social-democracy governmental
experiences and the globally negative result of the Leninist-Stalinist
State, are the graveyard where proletarian illusions of a better future
are lying.

Social-democracy and Leninism cannot be reduced to sowers of
illusions into the labour movement. As a matter of fact, they too
often were a weapon against workers' spontaneous socialism,
considering that their peaceful or violent coming to power were
useful to reduce class antagonisms for the benefit of the capital: the
administration of crises by social-democrats and the State capitalism
development by Leninists.

What is worse, these trends never hesitated to take on an openly
counter-revolutionary part. Germany 1918, Russia and Ukraine
1921, Spain 1937-1939, Algeria 1954-1962: many examples of their
participation to the bloody repression of revolutionary labour
movements and of colonized peoples' revolts.


A new revolutionary project is necessary, that is alternative to State
socialisms and to liberalism.

By revolutionary project, we mean the socialist society project, and
the strategic, political project, which proposes a way to prepare the
conditions of an autogestionary revolution from the present

Utopia can have a decisive effect upon social movements. As a
stimulator of collective imagination, it feeds immediate fights, in
their forms as well as in their goals, it can give a force and a credit to
anti-capitalism in exploiting the alternative society possibilities.
Imagination is necessary to change realities.

If it seems necessary to us that our trend should bear such a project,
we do not pretend to substitute ourselves to the labour movement
collective elaboration. Therefore we make a distinction between our
specific project, elaborated from our realities and the whole of our
aspirations, and projects that mass movements will give themselves
in certain historical periods.

Our project does not have the pretention to tell the future, nor to
foresee everything, nor to be a promises whole, nor to be a ready
plan of a socialism to be built as it is. It is of course through their
experiences that workers will find answers to several questions of
society. But into this elaboration, our propositions can be a
contribution and incentive value in reorientating the ideas debate and
the practices in a as libertarian and autogestionary direction as

A revolutionary project building lies upon historical experiences and
upon fights contemporary experiences. In taking into account the
difficulties met in the real historical process, it will try to give realist
answers. In the same time, it has to find support in the technological
development and the cultural conditions of today.

The revolutionary project therefore needs a regular revaluation,
integrating new experiences of social fights and of social advances.

The contemporary libertarian project elaboration and defense implies
the revision and the giving up of numbers of myths, errors and
out-of-date ideas, historically borne by the revolutionary movement
and by the libertarian trends. It cannot advance without turning its
back to dogmatisms and archaisms.


The socialism for which we are fighting, an anti-authoritarian
socialism, wants a radical change of society concretizing workers'
spontaneous socialism, realizing libertarian and equalitarian
aspirations so often expressed into the exploited's class-struggle and
into the oppressed and women's emancipation fights.

Anti-authoritarian socialism is a search for an authentic democracy:
the sovereign people self-instituting society, self ruling its politics,
and its production in autogestion.

A real democracy, because production intercourses, the
wage-earning intercourse are broken, because big means of
production are socialized, collectivized at the basis and not under
State-control, because autogestion substitutes to the ruler/ ruled
people intercourse,and because thus, the social division into
antagonistic classes is replaced by a reunifying human community,
socially and politically equal and free.

An authentic democracy, because the State mechanic -ie the
exlpoiting classes domination mechanic- is broken, replaced by a
federalist organization of society and by generalized autogestion,
exercized on every bid decision, the actual collective sovereignty, the
"down to up" or "from the periphery to the center" democracy, the
power to the basis Assemblies and to their freely associated

Anti-authoritarian socialism is the fight for a society where the
individual is in the same time responsible and free. Free in a real
world, where material necessities weigh, and in a society where
everybody participates in common tasks and in collective
responsibility. Totally free in speech, in expression, in creation; free
in one's way of life, sexuality, culture; and responsible, master of
one's work, participating, closeby everybody and on an equal stage
with everybody, to the autogestion of society and production. Equal
to everybody, and therefore accessing on an equal stage with
everybody to the sharing out of the productions of labour. The aim of
anti-authoritarian socialism is the building of a society where the
collectivity, in solidarity, should allow the individual to bloom with
his or her specificities. A society where the individual, what is local,
particular and collective, what is social and cultural should mutually
help and come into balance: an equalitarian and libertarian society.

Anti-authoritarian socialism demands everybody's desalienation, the
end of all the oppressions, racisms, xenophobias, intolerances and of
patriarchy. This comes necessarily by a radical change of the
production means, in its structures, its organization and power
forms, as well as in its aims. This is the end of a production ruled by
profit. This is the beginning of a production turned towards the
equalitarian satisfaction of socially expressed needs, which means
neither levelling nor standardization in a society founded upon the
emancipation of individuals and of bases communities, that is to say
upon multiplicity as well as upon the harmonization of ways of life.
This is a production which breaks away from productivism, from the
crazy and destroying race on life environment, and which therefore
opens the way to a new intercourse reintegrating humans
community in the eco-system balance. This is a production where
the worker, each worker, and collectively the proletariat and other
social strata dominated by capitalism, escape from alienated and
alienating, dominated, ruled work to come to a mastered work
opened to the individual and collective creation.

Anti-authoritarian socialism is the end of a certain world order. The
end of colonialism and imperialism, for an equalitarian intercourse in
solidarity between all the peoples, founded upon autonomy, upon the
auto-centered production for each region, and the realignment of
riches between rich countries and poor countries. The end of
State-control order, for a free federation of regions led in autogestion.
The end of frontiers and of the war threat, for a world without
barriers and totally demilitarized.


The libertarian revolution is not a simple political revolution
substituting a ruling team to another, or changing the Constitution
terms. This is a global revolution, linked with all political, cultural,
economic forms of society. This is the reason why we speak of a
social revolution.

The conditions of the revolution -what can lead a people and peoples
on the way of such a disruption- are neither only ideological nor only
"objective". The revolution is not the mechanical result of the
productive forces development. Neither is it a pure production of an
ideological process. It can take place only at the end of a dynamics
made up of social practices, real mass and individual practices, their
fights, which develop in the material conditions of each period, and
which allow a collective conscience taking and the emergence of
social change projects more and more widely borne.

The social revolution is therefore prepared by a historical process
where individuals and social classes conscience-taking is the central
element, which leans on a concrete experimentation through
class-struggles, emancipation fights and their auto-organization.
This is what we call counter-power. In learning themselves
autogestion, workers will elaborate the bases of an alternative
society. Because capitalism and State will appear as too narrow
frames, stifling this rising aspirations and autogestionary practices of
the basis of society, this one will be armed with the longing for a

Freedom is not for us a far end allowing the use of any mean, but on
the contrary the aim as well of the mean. We propose an action and
conscience-taking dynamics, not under the leading of rulers blindly
followed, but on the contrary by fights autogestion where the basis
and the individual express and bloom.

Counter-power is therefore a political and social strategy of
preparation of the social revolution conditions, which is already
inscribed into dayly fights. It lies upon claiming fights, in going past
the frame imposed by the ruling classes power, for the development
of counter-powers at the basis. In coordinating and federating
ourselves, counter-powers will tend to emerge in organizations
alternative to State.

The revolutionary rupture is the result of all this process which can
spread on many years: it is the reversal of State-control, of the
employers' established powers by the counter-power which becomes
the new power. It lies upon a dynamics of the basis reappropriations
of social life and of production, giving them the necessary frame for
their systematization.

The anti-capitalist rupture is the result of two articulated
movements, which are essential one for the other. There is no
revolutionary rupture if there is no production means reappropriation
by workers. And therefore the fight into firms, and more widely
around labour and production questions, really is a prioritary front for
the revolutionary fight. But there is neither a rupture without a
second social movement developing out of production, winning wide
parts of the population and touching all the cogs of society.
Therefore, firms should not be the only priority of the revolutionary

Proletariat -in the wide definition which is ours- is really the
power-unit class which inspires the social revolution. But it will not
necessarily be the only class to lead the revolution. It has an
objective interest to unite with other categories of the population to
realize a wide anti-capitalist front. From this follows that the new
power will not exclusively be the proletariat's power -even if it
weighs in it in a decisive manner- and even less its dictatorship, but
the power of a new social group, the result of new autogestionary
production intercourses, unifying in a worker-citizen status,
participating in the socialized direction of the production, of the
education and of the society.

This new power will not immediately spread to the whole population
where opponents to the new society will express. This is one of the
major contradictions of the autogestionary revolution in its first
stage: build an incomparable democracy and have to fight a part of
the population gathered round the ancient order ruins. But the
dynamic is one of the progressive disappearance of class differences.

There is therefore, after the revolutionary rupture, a succession of
stages of building, and the first stage is still marked by the divisions
received by capitalism. But in the first moments, collectivist
production intercourses -ie communist in the authentic meaning-
will tend to take place, in a first time into the big means of
production, and it is also on the autogestion mode that public
services and solidarities formerly controled by State will be
reorganize. State is immediately replaced by a new dialectic form of
centralization and decentralization: federalism. There is therefore a
succession of transitions where the building of communism is
deepened, but no transition under State-control between capitalism
and communism and different the one from the other.

In all this revolutionary process -which starts with dayly practices of
counter-power- the role of an organized anti-authoritarian trend
seems necessary to us. We refuse the ruling part that Leninism gives
to the revolutionary party and which leads it to substitute to masses
and finally to impose a system generating bureaucracy. But
revolutionaries have to play an animator and a guide part. Their
propanganda comes into the dynamics of the population's
conscience-taking, in proposing a radical criticism of capitalism and
a systematization of the workers' spontaneous socialism. Their
concerted, convergent, organized action is necessary into
class-struggles to help the auto-organization development and the
alternative project rising. This volontary intervention is one of the
conditions for the development of a process which does not obey any
"inescapable" law, and where spontaneity already showed in history
its extraordinary value, and also its incapacity to lead alone the
overthrown of society and the institution of a free socialism. The
active presence of an organized anti-authoritarian trend can be
decisive to avoid bureaucratic deviations: a trend which has ways to
be massively heard by workers and youth, but also strongly
implanted, composed of numerous active militants into social
movements, in a situation of listened and influent animators. A
necessity for an organization that must not hide to itself that it can
fall into dirigism whatever may be its libertarian pretentions, and that
an auto-vigilance of every moment is essential, as well as the
militant autogestionary structure allowing the collective direction of
the organization from its basis , taking its roots into society.


The society project we propose lies upon concrete experiences of
revolutionary workers and peoples: free communes, workers'
councils, federations, revolutionary unionism.

We call this project "libertarian communism", not with a reference
to the Marxist-Leninist "communism" trend, but in the following of
an older and wider trend, anti-authoritarian unionist and of workers'

"Communist": a society founded upon the sharing of the means of
production without private or privative centralized appropriation, that
is without classes and without States.

"Libertarian": a society whose prospect and condition is the
emancipation of society, workers and individuals, which passes by
economic equality and a down to up democracy of production and of
all the society.

Libertarian communism is the project for an evolutive society,
animated by a permanent revolutionary project, which progressively
spreads the new society over the whole suface of the Earth, and
which integrates and comes into all the population.

We give here some main lines of this project, such as we can
conceive it for the first building stage, that it to say despite all the
population has not come to it, whereas the revolution still has many
inside and outside enemies, and that we have to do with the
technological heritage, in starting immediately to transform it.

Autogestionary production intercourses.

By the socialization of the means of production we do not mean their
concentration into State hands but a collective possession by the
whole of society, an autogestion of production in its globality, and an
autogestion of each unity by those who are in it.

By autogestion we mean collective power of decision of workers'
assemblies, with total freedom of expression, and democratic votes.
Autogestion abolishes the capitalist production intercourses: rulers/
ruled people with the parcellized and hierarchized organization of
work that they imply. Into autogestion the persons in charge, the
coordinators, the delegated persons are delegated by basis
assemblies; they can be dismissed by them at any moment and they
are submitted to the collective direction of the basis, they have to
apply important choices, the imperative mandates adopted and
regularly renewed by basis assemblies and local councils.

The reversal of production intercourses lies upon a radical
transformation of the nature of labour. The manual and intellectual
fonctions, parted by capitalism, are reunified: each worker
participates in the conception and in the decision, he or she is
deciding for the production and for society. His or her working-time
incorporates these decision tasks (including upon political questions
concerning the region, the society), those of execution, and a very
important time of continuous formation. Time is no more submitted
to the inherited division of capitalism between parcellized labour and
leisure. During his or her life, the worker alternates participation to
the collective production, and participation to the social life as many
forms of his or her blooming.

This labour changing, its desalienation, is the central nucleus of a
deep transformation process radically replanning the productive
structure and the technologies. The latter will have to be adapted to
this new mode of production and to the new social criterions,
opening an innovation and renewing period.

Production escapes the profit imperatives. Human needs become
determinating. These needs are not and will never be "objective":
they answer to cultural data, to personal aspirations, but also to what

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